I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Promotional film poster
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Produced by Jack Giarraputo
Adam Sandler
Tom Shadyac
Written by Barry Fanaro
Alexander Payne
Jim Taylor
Starring Adam Sandler
Kevin James
Jessica Biel
Ving Rhames
Steve Buscemi
Dan Aykroyd
Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by Jeff Gourson
Studio Relativity Media
Shady Acres Entertainment
Happy Madison Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) July 20, 2007 (2007-07-20)
Running time 116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million[1]
Box office $186,072,214[1]

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a 2007 comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan, written by Barry Fanaro, and starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James as the title characters. The film was released on July 20, 2007, in the U.S., August 16, 2007, in Australia and on September 21, 2007, in the UK and Ireland. Although the film got negative reviews by critics for its very crude humor and portrayal of gay people, it was a financial success, ranking #1 at the box office. This film is Sandler's first to be released by Universal Studios since Bulletproof in 1996.

The film's depiction of same-sex marriage in New York preceded the 2011 enactment of the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized marriage for same-sex couples in the state. At the time of the film's release, the state allowed for residents to file for unregistered cohabitation rights, and various municipal and county governments (including, as shown in-film, New York City) offered domestic partnership registries.



Charles Todd "Chuck" Levine and Lawrence Arthur "Larry" Valentine (Adam Sandler and Kevin James) are two veteran FDNY fire fighters. Chuck is a bachelor and womanizer, and Larry is a widower who tries to raise his two children. During a routine sweep of a burned building, a segment of floor collapses and Chuck almost dies. Larry eventually rescues Chuck by shielding him from falling debris. As they awaken at a hospital later, Chuck vows to repay his debt in any way possible. The incident prompts Larry to realize the fact that death can come for him at any moment, but he has difficulties naming his children as primary beneficiaries in his life insurance policy. One of the ways suggested for him to do so is to get married. Inspired by a newspaper article about domestic partnerships, Larry asks Chuck to enter a civil union with him. Although at first Chuck declines, he is reminded of his debt to Larry and finally agrees. The two become domestic partners and Chuck becomes Larry's primary beneficiary in the event of his death. Soon, city investigators arrive to inquire about their partnership, suspecting fraud. Chuck and Larry decide to enlist the help of a lawyer, Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel), who suggests that they get married. Chuck and Larry then marry in Canada and move in together.

At a gay benefit costume party, the partygoers are confronted by homophobic protestors, whose leader, a minister (Rob Corddry), calls Chuck a "faggot". Chuck punches him, causing the event to be published in a newspaper. With their apparent homosexuality and marriage revealed, the pair come under fire: Chuck and Larry are heckled, while their fellow FDNY firefighters refuse to work or even play basketball alongside the couple. Their only ally is Fred G. Duncan (Ving Rhames), an angry, intimidating firefighter who comes out to a very surprised Chuck. Larry's effeminate son Eric (Cole Morgen) is harassed in school by a homophobic bully - but he surprises everybody by easily winning the fight. During the ordeal, the previously homophobic pair come to understand what it is like to be persecuted, and become more accepting of homosexuality. Chuck becomes romantically interested in Alex after the two spend time together, but finds himself unable to get close to her because she thinks he is gay. Inside, they kiss and it is implied that Chuck fingers her to orgasm. Meanwhile, city agent Clinton Fitzer (Steve Buscemi) arrives to investigate the couple. The strain on both Larry and Chuck leads to a verbal fight and also working different shifts, although there was a petition to have Chuck and Larry thrown out of the firehouse. This prompts Larry to confront the crew about their personal embarrassments on the job that Chuck and Larry helped them overcome. After this a call goes out and before they go on the call Larry even goes as far as to say "Oh! A fire. I hope its not a big one because the faggot who's been saving your sorry asses thanks to you is on another shift." After Larry's shift is over, Chuck and Larry reconcile their differences.

However, the marriage soon comes under fire, as numerous women provide testimonies as to having slept with Chuck in the recent past, and the couple is called into court to defend their marriage on charges of fraud. They are defended by Alex, and their fellow firefighters arrive in support, after they realize all Chuck and Larry done for them over the years, and how they were treating Chuck and Larry. Fitzer interrogates both men, who testify that they genuinely love each other (albeit in a platonic fashion). As his final demand, Fitzer asks for the pair to kiss to prove that their relationship is physical, but before they do so, they are interrupted by Captain Phineas J. Tucker (Dan Aykroyd), who finally reveals that their marriage is a sham and that they are both straight. Tucker attempts to save them by claiming that he would have to be arrested as well, since he knew about the fakery but failed to report it. This prompts the other firefighters to each claim a role in the wedding in a show of solidarity. Unfortunately, with these revelations, the pair, along with all their fellow firefighters, are sent to prison, but they are quickly released after negotiating a deal to provide photos for an AIDS research benefit calendar. Two months later, Duncan and Alex's brother, Kevin (Nick Swardson) are married in Canada at the same chapel as Larry and Chuck were. At the wedding party, Larry finally moves on after the death of his wife and talks to a new woman, while Alex tentatively agrees to a dance with Chuck. The film ends when Lance Bass sings, and little Eric tap-dances.


Production history

Producer Tom Shadyac had planned this film as early as 1999. I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny, as the film was then titled, was announced as starring Nicolas Cage and Will Smith with Shadyac directing. In the official trailer for the movie, the song "Grace Kelly" by British pop star, Mika, was included.[2]


MPAA rating

The MPAA initially rated the film R for "some crude sexual humor and nudity". Universal appealed the rating, but it was upheld.[3] Upon losing the appeal, Universal edited the film: this version was rated PG-13 for "crude sexual content throughout, nudity, language and drug references".

Critical response

The film received negative reviews. On the film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 14% "Rotten" critic rating from 154 reviews, with a 12% "Cream of the Crop" rating based on reviews from major news outlets but a 73% for audience rating; the site's consensus concludes: "Whether by way of inept comedy or tasteless stereotypes, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry falters on both levels." [4] USA Today called it "a movie that gives marriage, homosexuality, friendship, firefighters, children and nearly everything else a bad name."[5] The Wall St Journal calls it "an insult to gays, straights, men, women, children, African-Americans, Asians, pastors, mailmen, insurance adjusters, firemen, doctors -- and fans of show music."[6] The New York Post called it not an insult to homosexuality but to comedy itself.[7]

The Miami Herald was slightly less critical, calling the film "funny in the juvenile, crass way we expect."[8] The critic Nathan Lee from the Village Voice wrote a positive review, praising the film for being "tremendously savvy in its stupid way" and "as eloquent as Brokeback Mountain, and even more radical."[9] Controversial critic Armond White championed the film as "a modern classic" for its "ultimate moral lesson—that sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with who Chuck and Larry are as people" [10]

The film received eight Razzie Award nominations including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Adam Sandler), Worst Supporting Actor (both Kevin James and Rob Schneider), Worst Supporting Actress (Jessica Biel), Worst Director (Dennis Dugan), Worst Screenplay and Worst Screen Couple (Adam Sandler with either Kevin James or Jessica Biel).

Response from social groups

The film was screened prior to release for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). GLAAD representative Damon Romine told Entertainment Weekly magazine: "The movie has some of the expected stereotypes, but in its own disarming way, it's a call for equality and respect".[11]


According to Alexander Payne, the writer of an initial draft of the movie, Sandler took many liberties with his screenplay, "sandlerizing" the movie, in his own words. At some point, he did not want his name attached to the project.[12]

Critics have also said the character played by Rob Schneider is a racist depiction of Asians.[13]

In November 2007, the producers of Australian movie Strange Bedfellows initiated legal action against Universal Pictures for copyright violation.[14] The suit was withdrawn in April 2008 after the producers of Strange Bedfellows received an early draft of Chuck and Larry that predated their film, satisfied that they had not been plagiarized.[15]


  1. ^ a b "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=chuckandlarry.htm. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ "I, Nicolas Cage, take thee, Will Smith". The Advocate: p. 22. 1999-05-25. http://books.google.com/books?id=ImMEAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  3. ^ MPAA Press Release on I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
  4. ^ "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_now_pronounce_you_chuck_and_larry/. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  5. ^ Puig, Claudia (2007-07-20). "'Chuck and Larry': It's a marriage of bad taste, bad gags". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2007-07-19-chuck-and-larry_N.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  6. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (2007-07-20). "'Hairspray' Is Campy Fun, but Travolta Is a Drag". Wall St Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118488195168472170.html. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  7. ^ Smith, Kyle (2007-07-20). "'laughless comedy isn't a gay time'". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202007/entertainment/movies/fdnwhy__movies_kyle_smith.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  8. ^ "'Chuck & Larry'". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/231/story/175223.html. Retrieved 2010-08-01. [dead link]
  9. ^ "'Queer as Folk'". Village Voice. http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0729,lee,77246,20.html. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  10. ^ "'Bossom Budies'". New York Press. http://www.nypress.com/article-16861-bosom-buddies.html. Retrieved 2007-25-07. 
  11. ^ "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". Entertainment Weekly. 2007-07-20. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20035285_20035331_20035169,00.html. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  12. ^ Cinemaemcena.com News
  13. ^ afterelton.com Review of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"
  14. ^ Filmmakers take on Hollywood over comedy 'copy' - Film - Entertainment
  15. ^ "Strange fluke, not plagiarism - Film - Entertainment". Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-04-06. http://www.smh.com.au/news/film/strange-fluke-not-plagiarism/2008/04/06/1207420193700.html. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 

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